“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” – Acts 9:31
Congratulations! We made it to the 1 year mark of blogging. Time passes by quickly. Thank you for staying along for the journey!
We’re in Acts 9 now and there are a few points I want us to notice. Perspective is everything. Thankfully, I have the ability to separate emotion and logic and can see a situation for what it really is. It’s like when you have a sibling, say a beloved brother that you had a conflict with that is hurtful emotionally but you remember what the Scripture says (Matt. 5:23-24) and you logically reason through the circumstance.
You may tell your brother, “I understand. Let’s not allow this conflict to cause total ruin, despite how I think it could have been handled differently to avoid maximum damage. I will never forget what you have done for me. I want you to be happy. You should be. You’ve been through the worst. I extend my prayers to you and your new family for a long, happy, Christ-centered future.
“You’re my brother. And I want to go before God with a clear heart and worship around the throne of God in heaven with you one day. May you prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers.” Logic will allow you to do that and put your emotions aside for the cause of Christ.
In Acts 9, we see Saul (who we now know as Paul) to have a perspective that was wrong, causing him to persecute Christians. But he thought that he was right. Saul is converted on the road to Damascus while he was on his way to try and persecute more Christians. He was a zealous Jew, who, like his counterparts, did not believe in Christ as Lord. Remember, he held the coats of the Jews (and stood by) while they stoned Stephen for preaching the gospel (Acts 7). Here are a few points for consideration from Saul’s conversion in Acts 9:
- When the Lord calls your name, what will your answer be? The Lord called out to Saul on the road to Damascus, and when He realized it was Jesus, his response was: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6). The Lord called to Ananias to assist him; Ananias’ response was, “Here I am, Lord” (Acts 9:10).
- God can use whomever He wants. Ananias was at first unsure about Saul, as he had heard about all the harm he’d caused the disciples in Jerusalem (Acts 9:13). God responded that Saul was His “chosen vessel” to proclaim His name before many, even kings (Acts 9:15).
- When God chooses you for His service, there will be suffering. (Acts 9:16; John 16:33; 1 Pet. 4:12-13).
- Saul obeyed the gospel of Christ just like all the other people we read about in the New Testament. He was baptized. (Acts 9:18). He was religiously zealous as a Jew, but he still had not obeyed the gospel (Acts 22:3; Gal. 1:14). A lot of people today are religious and spiritual, but they have not obeyed the gospel. Saul did what the Lord told him he must do. (Mark 16:16; John 3:5)
- There’s no need to wait 5, 10, or 15 years to start telling people about the good news of Jesus. After he was baptized, Saul “immediately preached the Christ” (Acts 9:20). He also increased in strength and spoke boldly (Acts 9:22, 29). He was courageous.
- God can use people who cause us hurt, to bring us peace and encouragement. The Jews were trying to kill Saul – like how he tried to kill Christians when he was a Jew. The Christian brethren rescued him from Jerusalem. And the Bible says that the churches all over had peace and were built up, and the church grew in number (Acts 9:31). Also, note that Paul (once called Saul) wrote nearly half of the New Testament. How’s that for encouragement and edification for the church!
I hope you’ll read the whole chapter. After this, it’s on to the next one!